Skip to main content

When a customer becomes reliant on a single cloud provider for their data, applications, or services, they are said to have experienced cloud vendor lock-in. If they decide to change providers, they will encounter significant switching costs or technical challenges. This can put customers at risk for vendor-specific hazards and limit their flexibility, innovation, and cost-efficiency. We will go through some tips in this article for avoiding cloud vendor lock-in and keeping command of your cloud resources.

Why is vendor lock-in a concern?

If a company is locked to a specific cloud vendor, a number of things could have negative impacts on it:

  • If a vendor’s service quality declines or never hits a required benchmark, the client will be stuck with it.
  • The vendor can also change its product offerings so that it no longer meets the needs of a business.
  • A vendor can completely cease operations.
  • A vendor might dramatically raise the price of the service knowing that their customers are committed.

These are some of the challenges faced by the businesses when they get stuck in vendor lock-in.

The Architecture of Vendor Lock-in

Image Source

There are two types of cloud architectures:
1. Single cloud architecture

2. Multi cloud architecture

Single Cloud Architecture

A single cloud provider serves as the organization’s sole source of computing. Offerings in this category may be software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). 

Additionally, the company is allowed to use services that are exclusive to that provider. In this scenario, the organization depends entirely on that one supplier to provide all of its computing needs, making it challenging to change providers without incurring high expenses or negatively impacting its business operations. 

Multi Cloud Architecture

An organization uses numerous cloud providers in a multi-cloud architecture to run various services or applications. For example, a company might utilize Azure for applications and AWS for infrastructure.

Why Multi Cloud?

This strategy can offer some redundancy and flexibility while lowering the chance of being overly dependent on one source.  

As the organization is not reliant on a single provider, the fundamental benefit of multi-cloud architecture is its ability to avoid vendor lock-in. Additionally, by spreading the risk and not placing all of their eggs in one basket, it can help organizations take use of the strengths and skills of several providers.

The following stats are the proof of why your company should adopt multi cloud strategy:

  • 98% of businesses already use or intend to employ two or more cloud infrastructure providers.
  • 31 % of businesses have four or more cloud infrastructure providers. 
  • Almost 9 out of 10 businesses claim to have a multi-cloud strategy. 
  • The top four factors driving businesses to adopt multi-cloud operations are reliability (46%), digital transformation (43%), scalability (42%), and security and governance (41%). 

Image Source

IDG published its 8th Cloud Computing Survey, which included quantitative data on IT budgets, multi-cloud systems, and IT infrastructures. This research also discusses the benefits and drawbacks of using various public clouds. The results are as follows:

  • The majority of respondents (55%) utilize two or more public clouds, with 34% using two, 10% using three, and 11% using more than three.
  • According to 49% of respondents, they used a multi-cloud strategy to get best-of-breed platform and service options.

Image Source

According to research by Statista, the use of cloud computing in Germany increases between the years 2011 and 2022. In 2022, 84% of the organizations already employed cloud services (public or private cloud), this is an increase of 2% from the previous year.

Image Source

How to Avoid Cloud Lock-in?

It is possible to lower the risk of vendor lock-in by employing the following best practises:

Check your needs and goals

You should evaluate your present and long-term requirements and goals for your cloud projects before selecting a cloud provider. What business results do you want to achieve? What limitations and technical requirements do you have? What are your financial and timing constraints? By responding to these questions, you can decide which cloud service type (IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS) is ideal for your needs. You can also decide on the best pricing strategy and the features and functionalities that are most appropriate for you. The compatibility, dependability, and scalability of various providers can also be compared and assessed.

Image Source

Use open standards and formats

Using exclusive or vendor-specific standards and formats for your data, applications, or services is one of the key reasons for cloud vendor lock-in. As a result of this, transferring your cloud resources to another platform or provider may become challenging.To prevent this, you can use open standards and formats endorsed by the industry such as JSON, XML, or CSV for data and HTML, CSS, or JavaScript for web applications. Vendor-specific APIs, SDKs, and tools should also be avoided as they can restrict your portability and interoperability.

Design for portability and modularity

Making your cloud architecture portable and modular is another strategy to prevent vendor lock-in. This indicates that you should employ loose coupling or microservices that can be quickly updated or relocated rather than firmly attaching your components or services to a particular provider or platform. Additionally, you can use containers, like those offered by Kubernetes or Docker, which may run on any cloud environment and encapsulate your apps and dependencies. To further automate the deployment and orchestration of your cloud resources across many providers, you should leverage configuration management technologies like Terraform or Ansible.

In 2022, security for Kubernetes was deemed a major priority by organizations. Starting from a low start, the proportion of businesses utilizing Kubernetes security technologies rose from 22% in 2021 to 34% in 2022. This results in an annual growth rate of +55%.

71% of the companies in the Kubernetes survey operate databases and caches, an increase of +48% from the previous year. Organizations are increasingly employing databases and caches to maintain application workload along with messaging systems (+36% growth).

Technologies for continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) increased by +43% year-over-year. This pattern demonstrates that businesses are using a lot more Kubernetes clusters to execute software development, testing, and deployment pipelines.

Image Source

Implement backup and recovery plans

Any cloud project needs backup and recovery procedures to avoid cloud vendor lock-in and to guarantee the availability, security, and integrity of your cloud resources. Regularly create backups of your data, programs, and setups, and store them somewhere other than your main cloud provider. Periodically test your backup and recovery procedures to make sure they function as planned. 

The use of cloud backup has grown over the last four years, from 28% in 2019 to 54% in 2022, but the use of local backups has rapidly decreased from 62% in 2019 to just 33% in 2022.

Monitor and evaluate performance

The performance of your cloud provider and your cloud resources should be regularly monitored and evaluated. Utilize measurements and indicators, such as availability, latency, throughput, or cost, that assess the caliber, dependability, and effectiveness of your cloud services. You should also consider the comments and reviews from your users, clients, or stakeholders to evaluate the satisfaction and worth of your cloud services. By doing this, you can find any problems or gaps that might interfere with your cloud-related objectives and determine whether you need to switch providers or not.

Conclusion

Lock-in with a particular cloud vendor puts businesses at risk by decreasing flexibility, raising expenses, and stifling innovation. The dangers can be reduced by adopting the tips provided in this blog post.